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Faculty/Staff Members


Phone: 4160
Office: Chalon Campus, Humanities, Room 218

Dolly Rojo - PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin (2018)
M.A., Developmental Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin (2016)
B.A., Psychology, University of California in San Diego (2011)



Born and raised in Southern California, not only does my diet consist of lots of sushi and Mexican food, but I also love to be out in the sun. Oftentimes this means taking a hike on one of the beautiful Californian trails, fishing on the beach, kayaking, camping, or just having a drink outdoors, with friends.

I am a daughter of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation college student. I lived in Austin for 5 years to complete my M.A. and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, at The University of Texas in Austin (hook ‘em!). I moved to sunny Los Angeles, California in Fall of 2018. I live here with my partner Steven (also a Southern Californian who shares in the love of sushi and the sun), and our cat, Mia. 

I feel very lucky to be among a diverse group of people, supportive colleagues, and very bright and strong women with even brighter futures. Everybody at MSMU has welcomed me with open arms.  There is a genuine sense of support and encouragement all around me-- a quality that I deeply value and hope to promote in my own classroom and lab.


I am interested in the social and cognitive factors of bilingual language development. I have assessed how preschool-aged children's experience with non-native speakers, even if minimal, affects their metalinguistic development (e.g. children’s understanding that there are hundreds of languages in the world, and that non-native speakers can provide valuable information).

Here at MSMU, I am the primary investigator and faculty supervisor of the Little Athenians Lab in the Psychology department. One of our current research projects is about the intersection between children's cultural and self-identity, and how newly learned languages become integrated to those identities. For this project, my research team and I are collecting data from local, dual-immersion elementary-school children. I am super grateful to the staff and families at these schools, for participating in my research. Thank you, especially, to the folks over at All Souls World Catholic School, where we will collect over 60 children’s data for this study.

Please also check out my website for more up to date information about our current research projects (!

I am also always looking for new research ideas and new students to join my research lab. If you are at MSMU and are interested in developing a study of your own, please don't hesitate to reach me! I'll be more than happy to hash speak with you about your research interests!

lab students smiling outdoors near mary chapel

The Little Athenians Lab, Spring 2020 
From left to right: Francesca Gunther, Alyssa Ream, me
Bottow Row: Vivian Boyer, Kimberly Ganivet, and Carin Mangassarin


Teaching and mentoring are strong passions of mine. I am dedicated to the inclusion of underrepresented, minority students in higher education. As a first-generation, Mexican woman who encountered many struggles throughout my formal education, I feel that it is my responsibility to guide other students who may currently be struggling, and to bring them into the higher education pipeline. 

In my courses, I enable students to develop critical thinking and effective analysis skills by assigning and discussing both empirical and mainstream literature, leading hands-on class activities, and challenging students to reflect on how course content is related to their personal lives. I also have a passion for teaching great writing skills, and incorporate workshops for great writing in all of my courses.  


To learn more about me, my teaching, or my research, please visit

Recent Publications

Rojo, D.P.,  & Echols, C.H. (2017b): Non-native language exposure promotes children’s willingness to accept labels in two languages, Journal of Cognition and Development, DOI: 

Rojo, D.P., & Echols, C.H. (2017). Accepting labels in two Languages: Relationships with exposure and language awareness. Cahiers de l'ILOB (8), 19-35. DOI: 

Creel, S. C., Rojo, D. P., & Paullada, A. N. (2016). Effects of contextual support on preschoolers’ accented speech comprehension. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 146, 156–180. DOI:

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